Continued from the previous chapter, here.
His computer still open, Asa Pemewan clicked over to the website of the Pronghorn Proclaimer, the local newspaper that still managed to publish daily despite declining readership and advertising revenue. I might’ve been able to see about a writing job there if there were still writing jobs in newspapers, Asa thought. But then, I am an academic, and everybody knows we’re obtuse and long-winded. And we don’t care about “the right way to do things,” either.
One of the few things keeping the Proclaimer afloat was its classified ads, and Asa found them teeming with calls for part-time work. “Approx. 15 hrs./wk. Minor maintenance, occ. ladder work” read one, and Asa thought Maybe I can cobble three of those together. Another read “PT bookkeeping/clerk position. Filing & folder setup, sort receipts, Quickbooks, AP/AR,” and Asa thought If I knew what “AP/AR” stood for–and a quick online search revealed to him that it meant “accounts payable/accounts receivable”–or how the hell to use Quickbooks, I might apply to that one. But I really need full-time work more than about anything else.
He narrowed his search in the classifieds to full-time work only. Three job ads greeted him–only three, rather than the dozens looking for part-time employees. The first was for a physician’s assistant at the local urgent care clinic–When did Pronghorn get one of those? Asa thought, and another quick search showed him that the hospital the town had had had been reduced in size and staff due to corporate mergers and similar entrepreneurial innovations–but, Asa thought, I am far from qualified for that kind of work.
The second position was that he had applied to with Smitherson earlier. No sense putting in twice for the same job, Asa thought. So, on to the next. It read “Cabinet fabricator wanted. Exp. w/plastic laminate req’d.” A phone number and email address followed, but Asa thought Well, that one’s out. I haven;t got any experience. Guess I’ll look at more part-time jobs, then, and he clicked back over, pulling up the next part-time posting.
“Pronghorn Precast is hiring for a BURIAL VAULT DELIVERY DRIVER with valid CDL “Class A” license, servicing the Pronghorn/Hill Country area. Starting salary $15/hr.” it read. Killer job, that, Asa thought. Too bad it takes a CDL–which I don’t have. He clicked again.
“Cleaning serv. needs someone for Thurs & Fri. afternoons. Must have good driving record.” A phone number followed, but nothing else. Maybe that’s another I can have alongside the maintenance job. He clicked yet again.
“Dentist in Pronghorn is looking for an excellent dental assistant with an outstanding personality. Exp. with orthodontics is a plus. Assistant must be self-starting, organized and able to communicate well with dentist and patients. Mon-Wed, 8a-5p.” No contact information followed. Damn. Who’s editing these? Asa thought. Can’t expect applications if there’s nothing about where to send them. Another click.
The next ad read “Pronghorn Tank Company is searching for a Controller with manufacturing experience. This position is responsible for handling financial & accounting operations. Mornings or afternoons. Bachelor’s degree (Accounting/ Finance) required; MBA/CPA a plus. Please send resume via email.” An email address followed, and Asa nodded. At least this one says where things need to go. Too bad none of my degrees are what they want. Which is typically the case. Yet another click.
“Pronghorn ISD seeks fill-in nurses. LVN or RN req’d; BSN/BN preferred. Apply online on Pronghorn ISD website.” Seems the freezes haven’t just hit teachers, then. Still another click revealed another ad, one reading “B&B seeks PT housekeeper + kitchen staff. Must work wknds. Apply in person at 13920 N. Hwy 701., M-W 12-2.” That one gives some specifics. I suppose I can run out north of town tomorrow.
More clicks, more ads, more that asked for part-time work from people who held commercial driver’s licenses or medical training, or for some other kind of certification or credential that Asa lacked. But on one click, Asa saw that the number of full-time positions changed, shifting from three to four; he clicked over to the appropriate page and saw the new ad:
“Entry-level worker needed full-time at Smitherson Chandlery. Begins at minimum wage; rises to $10/hr. after satisfactory 90-day probationary period. Apply in person at 123 W. Water.”
Asa smiled and began writing a cover letter for the job. After the initial work of setting up the date, internal address, and the like, he paused. I’m already applying with a Smitherson. Will applying for this job screw me over for that one? Will that one screw up this one? Will I screw myself out of both?
His hands fell to his lap. Maybe I’m psyching myself out, overthinking things again. There’s no guarantee that the branches of the family will talk to each other, and there’s no guarantee that even if they do, I’ll be in trouble with either side.
His head fell. But there’s also no guarantee that I’d get picked for either job. If anything, there’s nearly a guarantee that I won’t get picked for either. It’s worse than third-grade kickball, really; there, it was just embarrassment, but now, it’s my ability to earn a living–and I seem not to be able to do so.
Asa shook his head. Mom’d tell me it’s fatalistic, and she’d be right to make the comment. But it is what the evidence suggests is true, and how many times’ve I been told to pay attention to what’s going on in “the real world?” So maybe I should pay attention to this and just accept that I’m not going to get hired anywhere.
But I have to keep trying, right? What the hell else am I going to do? It’s not like I can just stop, is it?
Did I bring you as much pleasure as a six-pack of soda does? A single can? Could you kick in as much for me as you pay for that so I can keep doing what you like? Click here, then, and thanks!